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LINES TO A CRITIC.
HONEY from silkworms who can gather,
As soon as hate in me.
Hate men who cant, and men who pray, And men who rail like thee;
An equal passion to repay
They are not coy like me.
Or seek some slave of power and gold,
A passion like the one I prove
I hate thy want of truth and love-
THAT time is dead for ever, child,
And stare aghast
At the spectres wailing, pale, and ghast,
The stream we gazed on then rolled by ; Its waves are unreturning ;
But we yet stand
In a lone land,
Like tombs to mark the memory
Of hopes and fears, which fade and flee In the light of life's dim morning.
NOTE ON POEMS OF 1817.
BY THE EDITOR.
THE very illness that oppressed, and the aspect of death which had approached so near Shelley, appears to have kindled to yet keener life the Spirit of Poetry in his heart. The restless thoughts kept awake by pain clothed themselves in verse. Much was composed during this year. "The Revolt of Islam," written and printed, was a great effort-"Rosalind and Helen" was begun-and the fragments and poems I can trace to the same period, show how full of passion and reflection were his solitary hours.
In addition to such poems as have an intelligible aim and shape, many a stray idea and transitory emotion found imperfect and abrupt expression, and then again lost themselves in silence. As he never wandered without a book, and without implements of writing, I find many such in his manuscript books, that scarcely bear record; while some of them, broken and vague as they are, will appear valuable to those who love Shelley's mind, and desire to trace its workings. Thus in the same book that addresses "Constantia, Singing," I find these lines:
My spirit like a charmed bark doth swim
Upon the liquid waves of thy sweet singing,
Of rapture-as a boat with swift sails winging
And this apostrophe to Music:
No, Music, thou art not the God of Love,
In another fragment he calls it
The silver key of the fountain of tears,
Where the spirit drinks till the brain is wild;
Softest grave of a thousand fears,
Where their mother, Care, like a drowsy child,
And then again this melancholy trace of the sad thronging thoughts, which were the well whence he drew the idea of Athanase, and express the restless, passion-fraught emotions of one whose sensibility, kindled to too intense a life, perpetually preyed upon itself:
To thirst and find no fill-to wail and wander
Till dim imagination just possesses
The half created shadow.
In the next page I find a calmer sentiment, better fitted to sustain one whose whole being was love:
Wealth and dominion fade into the mass
Of the great sea of human right and wrong,
When once from our possession they must pass;
But love, though misdirected, is among
The things which are immortal, and surpass
All that frail stuff which will be-or which was.
In another book, which contains some passionate outbreaks with regard to the great injustice that he endured this year, the poet writes:
My thoughts arise and fade in solitude,
He had this year also projected a poem on the subject of Otho, inspired by the pages of Tacitus. I find one or two stanzas only, which were to open the subject :
Thou wert not, Cassius, and thou couldst not be,
"Twill wrong thee not-thou wouldst, if thou couldst feel,
Like thee-he sanctified his country's steel,
At once the tyrant and tyrannicide,
In his own blood-a deed it was to buy
Tears from all men-though full of gentle pride,
I insert here also the fragment of a song, though I do not know the date when it was written,-but it was early:
Yet look on me-take not thine eyes away,
Of thine own beauty from my spirit thrown.
Yet speak to me-thy voice is as the tone
Of my heart's echo, and I think I hear
Like one before a mirror, without care